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Krause Funeral Home Seeks to Build in Brookfield

A funeral home and crematory with a banquet hall would be built on Capitol Drive west of Barker Road.

Krause Funeral Home wants to add a fourth location in the Milwaukee area, building an approximately 12,500-square-foot facility on Capitol Drive near Brookfield's western border with Pewaukee.

Mark Krause, president of the family-owned business founded in 1933, told Brookfield plan commissioners he has lived in Brookfield for 45 years and was excited to open a location there.

"We look forward to being that good community member," he said.

Krause has two Milwaukee locations and one in New Berlin.

The Brookfield facility, still in its planning stages, would include funeral spaces, a chapel, crematory and banquet hall for post-funeral luncheons and refreshments.

Krause would seek restaurant and limited liquor licenses to be able to serve beer and wine but not hard liquor.

"We have had beer and wine licenses at our New Berlin and Brown Deer locations for over three years without incident," Krause wrote in a letter to commissioners.

Only about 10 percent of Krause's family clients request liquor for their services, he added.

Krause also would like an outdoor patio for the banquet facility to accommodate smokers and anyone who wants to sit outside for fresh air.

Cremation services now represent 40 percent of all services, and are a must for any newly constructed funeral facility, Krause said. It would be built in a chapel setting and be "esthetically appealing and environmentally friendly," he said.

At its other locations, Krause has added other services seen in the evolving funeral industry such as therapy dogs to comfort families, live streaming of funerals and "Wisconsin's only motorcycle hearse."

The 4-acre site eyed by Krause for new construction is located at 21600 W. Capitol Dr. between Capitol Drive and Gumina Road near the Capitol Airport. It's across from the Gateway West Commerce Center.

The traffic signal-controlled intersection further west at Gumina and Springdale roads would be used to safely allow access for funeral processions, which Krause said are becoming less frequent as cremations increase.

Plan commissioners and city staff noted there are some challenges to the site. The state Department of Transportation wants to limit access so motorists could enter the funeral home from Capitol Drive but could not exit the funeral home onto Capitol. Once on the funeral home site, motorists would have to exit onto Gumina and drive Gumina to Capitol.

There also are wetlands to the east that make reconfiguring traffic access difficult.  

The height of the building would be limited to a maximum allowed by the FAA due to the proximity to the Capitol Airport. And the FAA would prefer to see dry basins rather than a proposed detention pond to discourage wildlife and migratory birds from interfering with flight paths, Krause's architect TWP and city staff said.

John Curran with TWP Architecture in Elm Grove asked for some flexibility in designing the site, given its constraints. Materials would include brick and feature "lots of nice gables" and rosette window.

Plan Commissioner Kevin Wahlgren urged TWP to "be a little bit more bold with the architecture."

But he and other commissioners praised the concept.

Ald. Mark Nelson, a commission member, said, "I think this would be a real nice addition to that area of the city."

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